Here's a little secret: Sometimes we don't know the story that we want to tell, nor how we want to tell it. In some cases our inspiration may even be our own statements. Say, for example, statements on a podcast where both Jeremiah and myself claim that Patrick Ianni gets better and more comfortable as he gets more playing time. It's an odd assertion. It also holds up to a very basic test: He's gotten better as he's started more often.
And it comes down to his mentality -- something he recently told SoundersFC.com he saw a sports psychologist to improve. Talking to Ianni today he told me some of that, but also mentioned that consistently helps his approach as well.
He also agreed with the idea that he's in his peak age.
My mental approach is definitely different. Hopefully every player is getting better every year as for as the mental game. I think athletically, by 23, 24 you're about as good as you're going to get. I think for me every year has been a progression as far as reading the game and I need to continue that.
In his three starts this season you can see an upward curve of performance, both in passing and in defensive efforts per the Opta data presented in MLSSoccer.com's chalkboards.
|Patrick Ianni||v TFC||v HD||v SJQ|
Some of what makes Ianni the player he is, is his past where he played on the left or the right as needed. While this year he's started every match on the right side, against the San Jose Earthquakes he had to make an adjustment when Jeff Parke replaced Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. He says that was fairly simple.
Some guys are more natural on different sides, Jeff likes to play on the right so we didn't need to talk about it. I just shifted to the left. When a guy like that has to step in really quick I think he did a good job, even without the warmup.
While Ianni was less active in the second half, that may have more to do with how the 'Quakes play than his individual efforts. One thing is pretty clear: The statement from Nos Audietis has a bit of validity. The eyes were tested and they match both the numbers and what Sigi Schmid thinks of Ianni's play this year.
He had the opportunity because I made a lineup change. In those three games we've given up two goals and one was a PK. He's been part of that defense. He's kept his game simple and is playing within himself, which is something I think every player wants to do and tries to do.
Numbers, analysts, coaches, self -- if all of those are agreeing, then the idea that a player is really a third starting centerback could possibly be true.